- Protect with sunscreen. Although you are no longer sunbathing, UV rays are still intense on both clear and cloudy winter days. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, specifically to your face, hands, neck and scalp, at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Due to the sunâs reflections off the snow and conditions that occur at high altitudes, be sure to apply a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB radiation when you go skiing and snowboarding, to reduce your risk of sunburns and other long-term effects, including premature aging of the skin and even skin cancer.
- Moisturize. It is best to lather your skin with a rich cream multiple times per day, especially soon after you get out of the shower, to seal the water into your skin. There are several creams and ointments available to fit the needs of different skin types, but some key ingredients to look for are products that contain lactin acid, urea, lanolin, mineral oil, and petrolatum. Be sure to moisturize your entire body, paying close attention to the areas that are most frequently exposed when outdoors. You should also apply a moisture-rich lip balm with SPF to protect your lips.
- Cover your skin. Wear clothing that protects your skin from the sunâs rays, strong winds, and the cool air that leads to dry, flaky skin. Protect all areas of your body by wearing hats, scarves, gloves, long pants, and a jacket.
- Skip hot showers. Keep your baths and showers short, and the temperature of the water warm, rather than hot. Although a long, hot bath may be tempting to battle the wintery weather, hot water will strip the natural oils and protection away from your skin, and dry it out.
- Monitor your skinâs changes. Now that the tan has faded, you may notice new moles, lesions, or unusual marks on your skin that have developed as a result of the sunâs harsh rays from your time outdoors. Regular visits to your dermatologist, self-checks, and enrolling in an early detection surveillance program to monitor existing and new moles and lesions are essential in keeping you and your skin healthy all year long.
Your skin is your bodyâs largest organ, so be proactive and provide it the proper protection all year long, and enroll in an early detection screening program to ensure lifelong skin health.
Richard Bezozo, M.D., is the president of MoleSafe.
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